We are in the process of planning a couple of exciting projects, one in the world of sport and another in schools. Both of these involve the capturing of stories to assess culture or to “find the magic” in these environments.
During a planning discussion with Dave Snowden this morning, he mentioned the concept of “Sacred Stories”, those stories that define the way that people or societies see the world. This is an intriguing thought. It got me thinking – what are the sacred stories that define us in South Africa? I think similar to these sacred stories, there are also defining or iconic images. One that immediately comes to mind is the story (and image) of Madiba standing next to Francois Pienaar just after South Africa won the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Another, less positive example are the stories and images related to the Sharpville riots of 1976. Globally, an entire generation will probably never forget the images of the twin towers collapsing on9/11.
This begs the question, what are the sacred stories or iconic images in an organisation? What stories or myths are shaping the belief systems of employees and leaders alike? Where this becomes really interesting is when we start asking questions regarding the stories that shaped the value system of older generation leaders vs those of the younger generation employee just entering the job market. Do they even view concepts like respect in the same way?
It seems to me that if we can start listening to and valueing one another’s sacred stories, it’ll go a long way towards improving relationships at work and at home.